A 24-year-old man was arrested for throwing an explosive device at Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a campaign event in western Japan.
Kishida was visiting Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture to deliver a speech in support of his ruling party’s candidate in a local election when the 24-year-old suspect threw a 20-30 cm (8- to 12-inch) metal pipe bomb in his direction on Saturday.
Footage of the incident shows Kishida’s security kicking the explosive device away and hurriedly rushing the Prime Minister away from the scene.
When the device explodes, the scene turns chaotic as several people start screaming and scrambling to get away as white smoke fills the air. Several police can be seen holding the suspect down before dragging him away.
“I ran frantically, and then, 10 or so seconds later, there was a loud sound and my kid started crying. I was stunned, my heart is still beating fast,” a woman at the scene told NHK, according to CBS News.
Despite the incident, he later continued his campaign speeches before returning to the Tokyo region in the evening.
There was a loud blast sound at the previous speech venue. Police are investigating details, but I’d like to apologize for worrying many people and causing them trouble. An election that’s important to our country is taking place, and we must work together and follow through on it.
Hiroshi Moriyama, Kishida’s election strategy chairman, described the attack as an “unforgivable atrocity.”
“Elections are the core of democracy, and we should never tolerate threats or obstruction by violence,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno also told reporters.
One police officer was slightly injured, according to local reports.
No other injuries among the crowd were reported in the incident.
The motive of the suspect, who is from the Hyogo region, is currently unknown. It is not clear what the explosive device was or how many the suspect was carrying.
The attack occurred ahead of nationwide local elections, including by-elections for vacated parliamentary seats.
Abe was also at a campaign event when he was fatally shot with a homemade gun by 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, who held a grudge against a religious group that he believed Abe had promoted.
Police reports noted that the shooting could have been prevented with better planning and on-site security.
Next month, Japan will host the G7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima, where foreign ministers from Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and the European Union are expected to discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine, North Korea’s weapons’ tests and China’s belligerent rise in militaristic aggression, particularly against Taiwan.